Friday, December 10, 2010

Updates all around...

First of all, thank you so much for your sweet comments to my post yesterday. I was (am) in a fragile place about any form of CIO, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind words of encouragement, stories about your own baby sleep troubles and successes, and most of all your prayers.

You all are the best blog readers a girl could ask for =).

And before I get to how last night went, I just want to respond real quick to those of you who say things like "I don't know how you do it..."

That's just it, I was not doing it. I have been feeling like I am truly on the verge of cracking. I have been relying on Melatonin (as recommended by my Dr) to help me drift back to sleep between constant wake ups, so that I don't just lay there unable to fall back to sleep for fear that as soon as I do I will be jolted back awake by a crying baby. I have been relying on my previously-1 1/2 cups-now-up-to-2 1/2- cups of coffee each morning to get going for the day. I have found myself having thoughts of resentment when I am absolutely dragging at 2 or 3pm and can't have a quick boost of Pepsi or Green Tea because I am breastfeeding and I can't have caffeine that late in the day -and that friends, is NOT me. I love breastfeeding. And 99% of the time I am so grateful that I get the opportunity to do so. I have been sighing way too dramatically at the sight of dirty dishes in the sink, or laundry piled up, or just other regular household chores. I have been snippy with my husband. I have said far too many swear words under my breath at cars who cut me off in traffic or lights that turn yellow before I get a chance to speed under them. I have been reduced to tears from exhaustion more times than I care to admit. I have spent my afternoons at work praying that God will cover me in my exhausted state and that I won't end up on the 5 o'clock news for sending the wrong patient in for a valve replacement or that the wrong lung won't be removed. And perhaps worst of all, I have not been enjoying my babies nearly as much as I should. They are at such a fun stage right now...they are laughing at us and each other, they are playing games with us and every day figuring out new things that they can do. And instead of soaking them up and playing with them, I have felt like the majority of my day I am just trying to survive without loosing it. I have been impatient and exhausted and frustrated. And I hate it.

Also I feel like I was crossing over into a dangerous area. Too many nights of fragmented sleep were causing me to hallucinate in the middle of the night. Often I would wake up and not be able to decipher if I was in bed or on the couch (which is weird because I rarely fall asleep on the couch). I would wake up to a baby crying and not be able to remember who I had last fed and when. And the most frightening one was recently when I woke up in bed and thought I had Lucas asleep next to me (which, again, is weird because I can count on one hand the number of times I have brought a baby to bed with me), since he was asleep I decided that I should put him back in his bed, so I got up, leaned down carefully to pick up Lucas, headed to the nursery, shifted him in my arms so I could open the door, crept into their room and over to his crib, where I looked in and saw my son already in his crib, sleeping soundly. It was then that I looked in my arms, and although they were positioned as if to be holding a sleeping baby, they were empty.
This freaked me out.

So I came to the acceptance that a rough night or two I can handle. I can power through that. But as much as I would love to sit here and tell you (pride, pride, pride) that I am one of those Moms who gets up 7 times a night with her babies with a smile on her face and then wakes up at the crack of dawn gingerly the next morning and doesn't need a drop of coffee and makes her husband an organic breakfast from scratch before sitting on the floor to engage her babies in educational play for the next 2 hours until they go down for a nap, and then uses that time to do a Biblestudy, clean her entire house, and do a session of Pilates all while smiling even though she has only had 4 hours of broken sleep...I just am not. I am miserable to live with when I haven't slept. I need sleep. Need it. I need it to function. And an entire month of nights with 5+ wake ups, and never more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep will just about do me in. So something had to give, and as I told a friend, it turns out it was my stance on crying it out.

I had to get to the point where I realized that my rationalization needed to change. I had been opposed to much more than about 10 min of CIO because I thought it was best for my babies to know that unconditionally their needs will be met, so they learn to trust. And while to an extent that is still true, they are 8 1/2 months old know, and I feel we have built trust in them. Also, what I wasn't accounting for with that line of thinking was what a constant stream of nights like that was doing to our days. Isn't crying for a little longer at night for a few nights better than 8-12 hours of daytime with a Momma who is exhausted, impatient, grouchy, and just plain no fun? I mean really think about that. Most people I talked to said we would have approximately 3-5 rough nights until the babies "learned" to have better sleeping habits at night. That always sounded like a lot to me and I felt I just didn't have it in me to hear them cry for long periods that many nights in a row, especially when I had the "power" to stop it just by going in and picking them up, or by nursing them. I also couldn't stand the thought of holding out on a baby that was possibly hungry. But the night before last I had fed Abbey a little before 1am (at which time she only really half-nursed), and then she woke again at 3am. I sent David in to see if he could help her soothe back to sleep, and when he couldn't and she got to screaming, I figured well she must be hungry, so reluctantly I went in and got her and brought her out to the living room to nurse. She nursed for less than 2 minutes and then wanted to play. It occurred to me then that perhaps by giving in all the time, I was not helping them have good sleeping habits. And really, we ALL do so much better when we are better rested. You've heard the phrase "sleep begets sleep" and for our babies it is absolutely true. The better they sleep at night, the better they nap during the day. And when they've had a good nights sleep AND good naps during the day, they are SO MUCH HAPPIER. So are their parents. And I have come to recognize that as a parent, there are going to be times that I am going to have to make decisions that are outside of my comfort zone, but ultimately what's best for my family as a whole.

So, on to last night...

We put the babies down around 7pm without any issues, and then Abbey woke up about 15 minutes later crying - which is pretty uncommon. We gave her 15 minutes to see if she could figure it out on her own, and when the time passed and she was still crying, Dave went in and gave her her binky back, patted her, said calming things to her, and walked back out. We didn't hear from either of them again until a little after Midnight. Luke woke up fussing and we had decided to wait 15 minutes to see if they could work it out before going in to comfort them if it was before our agreed feeding time (1:30-2am for Abbey, 3:30am for Luke - these are based on what their patterns had been for weeks before illness struck our house and destroyed our sleeping patterns). About 10 minutes into his crying, Abbey woke up and started crying too. We kept track of the time she started as well. Luke ended up falling back asleep before the 15 minutes was up - which I'll be honest SHOCKED me. Especially since Abbey was crying still. At 15 minutes, Dave went in and gave her her binky back, patted her while saying comforting things, and she calmed right now. He walked out and she started up again, and we decided to wait 20 minutes. Same thing...still crying, Dave went in to do his thing. She started fussing again when he left, but to both our surprise ended up falling back asleep after only a few minutes of half-hearted fussing.

And then we didn't hear a peep from either one of them until 5:24 this morning.
I couldn't believe it when I woke up to the sound of them talking and cooing through the monitor and rolled over to look at the clock.

I went in to get them and brought them out to the living room to nurse. I left all the lights off in case they were only wanting to eat and go back to sleep, but it became apparent pretty quickly that they were in fact ready to start their day. So we turned on the lights and began our day. And I was fine with that. (I don't love 5:30 in the morning, but after such a long sleep stretch and not having to get up once during the night to nurse, I was not about to begrudge starting our day that way!)

And you know what? All three of us were in fantastic moods. Smiling at each other, giggling, and just cuddling for a long time after they finished nursing.
It was great.

We got down on the floor and played for a bit, and after about an hour and 20 minutes, they were both giving me tired cues. I offered them the chance to nurse, which they both did a little and then went and laid Luke down for a nap without any hesitation from him, and then came back out for Abbey, who was clearly tired but acting like she wanted to play a little bit when I took her into her darkened, white noise machine playing, nursery. But I had no trouble being patient with that, since I was so rested =). After a little bit of rocking and patting, she finally gave in and her eyes started to close too. I laid her down in her crib, patted her and walked out. Luke napped about 30-40 minutes (standard for him), and Abbey napped for an hour and 20 min (great for her).

I have no idea if we will have as smooth of a time tonight, but right now I am just grateful that last night went so well, and encouraged that this is the right direction for our family.

Thank you all so very much for all your prayers & encouragement - keep 'em up please!!

And now for the other update you all are dying to know about:

They aren't exactly "jammies", but they will do! David didn't get the cutest part of the outfit in this picture -and I am too lazy to go take another one- but the pants are red & white striped soft fleecey material with Santa footies! So cute!! I ended up finding them at Kohl's. (Kaycee, I TOTALLY thought you were on to something with the idea, but they didn't have the sizes I needed in ANY of their Christmas jammies!!!)

Sadly, the great search for the Non-See-Through-White-Long-Sleeved-Tee-Shirt will live to see another day.


Lauren said...

That disorientation was how I was every night for the first month of Noah's life. I was always doing weird stuff like that (I have a post on it from back in March called "Exhaustion and Disorientation": I always thought weird things were Noah - my pillow, his sling folded up, whatever. I would look at him in his bassinet and wonder how I was going to put Noah in his bassinet if there was another Noah in the bassinet. And then I would see I was cradling a pillow. I would wake up and not know if I had actually put Noah back to bed after he had nursed and think that the pillow I was hugging was him. That much sleep fragmentation is NOT good!

I'm surprised your dr said you could take melatonin. I've been on gravol (similar to dramamine or whatever) every night for months now so that I don't lie awake in the middle of the night for 4 hours waiting for Noah to wake me up. But my naturopath, dr, and the internet said I couldn't take melatonin - which I used to take back in the day - because I'm nursing. If you CAN be on it I'd rather take THAT than gravol every night!

I'm so glad your night went well. You are lucky that your kids responded well even with you going in there to soothe them - that would fuel Noah's cries. He'll scream for hours if I go in there.

Hopefully tonight will be even better!

Julia said...

Awesome! Definintely a good sign that they just need to learn how to put themselves back to sleep. My girls were exactly the same way---I completely know that feeling in the pit if your stomach when the baby starts crying after being down for only a minute or two. Ugh! I hated that. I am praying for you, that, like me, that feelings gradually subsides as your two little ones begin sleeping better! Huge praises, Mama!

Kaycee said...

It always surprises me how a kiddo can go from intense crying to asleep in 2.2 seconds! I have had that happen with my daughter too, just as I am thinking "she's not going to calm down I need to go in there" she would stop and be asleep. I really do think the sleep training is worth it, there will be good nights and bad nights and you will have times that you will have to adjust your expectations and schedule to adapt to changes, but sleep? Is priceless. And I agree that a rested Mama does so much more good during the day!

I also agree with you too that they are old enough to feel safe and secure and now you may just form habits that you don't want. I hope it continues to go well! And I am so glad to hear you found some PJs that work! They are super cute!! :) Pretty much every time I would pass Christmas PJs I would think of you! And it totally made me jump, then laugh, to be reading along in your blog post and see my name! Ha! :)

Anonymous said...

Kendra, if you are looking for non-see-through tees, look for "100%cotton interlock." Interlock is nice and thick. carries them--LLBean has some turtlenecks on p.4 of their winter catalogue.Just get a size big enough so it isn't tight like the model and you are good to go!

BB said...

That is so encouraging. We seemed to have tamed the sleep monster for now... but we are traveling and I don't know how things will change once we head back home in Jan... I might be refering to this post of yours at that time!

Vanessa's Dad said...

Sleep well everyone.


Once Upon A Time said...

I hope your sleep at night has just continued to improve and improve. I know you and I had been in the same boat lately with frequent ngiht wakings with our twins, but to give you hope: we had a goal of getting Sam through the whole night by new years... and we got success a little early. Both babies have busted through their sleep issues and got 12+ hours of sleep Saturday night (never happened to both at the same time before). Your day of good sleep is coming!

Lori said...

I am so happy that you had such a wonderful night, that is so encouraging, I'm sure. I will be praying that the babies will take to CIO so that everyone will have a better nights sleep. And yes, I would say that you were lacking in sleep after the story about putting "Luke" back to bed. WOW, that would have been freaky!! Hoping you are on the home stretch for this phase in the babies lives!